When you understand what people are trying to do with a college degree, which is buying a signal that says ‘I’m worth hiring’, you realize that signal is really not that strong. And if you set your mind to it, you can create a better, more powerful signal in a much shorter amount of time and for much less money.
In this episode of Nat Chat, I’m joined by Isaac Morehouse. Isaac’s the founder of Praxis, an alternative education system, which focuses on giving participants a lot of applicable skills and a broader understanding of subject knowledge at a self-paced rate. It also pairs participants with startups and gives them more hands-on experience with 6-month apprenticeships. Two previous Nat Chat guests, Hannah Phillips and Zak Slayback, have both had experiences with the system.
We cover a wide range of topics, including:
And much more. Please enjoy, and reach out to Isaac on Twitter!
If you enjoyed this episode and our discussion on self-education, be sure to check out my episode with Zak Slayback. If want more on education and improving college, you’ll enjoy my episode with Blake Boles, as well as my episode with William Deresiewicz.
Find Isaac online:
Mentioned in the show:
1:43 – Intro to Isaac and some information on the alternative education system Praxis.
4:17 – Isaac’s story with developing Praxis, flaws in the college system, what makes a college degree not that valuable, and why it’s not the best usage of time and money. Also, why many people will prefer hiring people with hands-on experience compared to people with just a degree.
10:39 – Whether or not Praxis and the self-education process works even if you’re not going into a startup or new-age company. Also, a bit on soft-skills and hard-skills, having tangible evidence of work experience, and demonstrating your abilities. “The key is the ability to demonstrate is more important than what it is that you’re demonstrating.”
13:57 – The safety concerns with the risks associated with leaving college and not getting a degree. A bit on the societal and prestige concerns of not having a degree, as well. “That’s the safety you’re giving up. The safety of the good opinion of others. Other than that, there is no safety you’re giving up.”
15:22 – The negative habits picked up through the college system that makes success harder for you. Also, the de-schooling process necessary for some Praxis participants and a bit more on the safety concerns regarding a degree. “Once you have anything more valuable than a degree, which can include a year of work experience, demonstrating a product, nobody asks about your degree.”
20:05 – The social pressure of your friends making more than you, and you judging yourself negatively because of that, even if you’re enjoying what you do more. Also, the extreme benefits of having low-income as a young person and the extreme importance of opportunity-cost. “It’s amazing the number of things that you can do when you stop looking at ‘I need a salary and a title that’s impressive to other people.’”
23:34 – Traveling and learning, keeping net income low, and being brutally honest with yourself with what you actually value. Also, some discussion on the need to experiment, figuring out what you like and dislike before making a career choice, and not being shackled to your previous definitions of success.
28:09 – Treating everything you do like an experiment, getting real experience in the field you want to go into before actually deciding on it, and some discussion on the transference of skills in one field to other fields. Also, a bit on the unique aspect of having skills in several areas come together.
35:54 – What Praxis does differently compared to the traditional college system and why it’s much better for the participant at Praxis. Also, a few of the things that Praxis participants do while there and the importance of getting some real-world practice to theorize and apply feedback upon before you begin learning something.
41:50 – The biggest mistake that people make when teaching themselves something by studying something without ever going out and doing it. Also, this same problem found in schools and a perfect analogy for this at 42:43.
45:00 – Humans being naturally entrepreneurial, how the education system damages this natural entrepreneurial aspect, and rekindling that natural entrepreneurial ember that we all have.
46:58 – The issues with the lonely aspect of going these non-traditional routes and some solutions for this feeling of loneliness. Also, being more vocal about what you’re about and what you’re interested in and how that attracts people with similar interests.
52:20 – Wrap-up, where to learn more about Isaac and Praxis, and what the best resources are for starting down this path are.
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Realizing that we can show our work and demonstrate our ability, and get opportunities by building our own credential, just opens things wide up.